Tagged: Tony Gwynn Jr.

Tony Gwynn Jr. @ St. Vincent de Paul’s

It was announced a while back that Tony Gwynn Jr. was going to do an autograph appearance on June 18th. Well, then I heard on the radio during a game that Gwynn was going to be doing another appearance on the 17th at St. Vincent De Paul’s. I figured it was going to be sponsored by KABC since it was advertised on KABC. You know me. I always prefer the KABC sponsored events over the Dodger sponsored events. On top of that, St. Vincent’s is less than 5 minutes from my house! I even contemplated walking… good thing I chose to drive instead.

Since it was so close and the Friday crowds are relatively small… I didn’t leave my house until 9. I got there around 9:15 and there were about 5 – 8 people in front of me. The first person in line was Mike, who I met at the Broxton signing. They weren’t sure where to line up. One of the girls was going to go find out. I said I would since I knew some of the KABC staff. We go the line situated and then it was time to mingle. I was expecting some friends to show up but they couldn’t make it. One of them came by to drop off his canvas for me to get signed for him. I got tons of inquiries of where I got the canvas. I told them it was my friend’s and he went to five different Targets trying to find it. The next most asked question was where did I find out about the signing. I told them VSIMH.

Gwynn showed up pretty close on time. I met a lot of great Dodger fans in line around me, though we didn’t exchange any names. Still, had a great time! I went inside and even did a little shopping. I found four books in their book section! When I was checking out, they thought I was buying the canvas but I told them I brought it in with me for the signing. When I got up to the front of the table for Gwynn to sign, one of the KABC guys introduced me as one of the biggest Dodger fans! I got my two items signed and of course they were for friends. I went back outside and mingled some more. I had asked someone if he had an extra picture because one of my friends who couldn’t make it wanted one. He told me had an extra one after all so I got that. Another friend in line asked me to get another item signed for him. So I got back in line. I met two more fans, only got the name for one of them. Alex said he recognized me from other signings. Then he realized that he recognized me from the Kemp video that VSIMH posted from the beach event!

Second time through, I told Tony I got some more things for him to sign. He said “that’s fine.” And he signed both of them. I noticed on the Dodger photo he wrote his number “10” and on the Padre program, he wrote the number “18”… which he didn’t do for my other things or for other people’s things. I thought that was pretty cool. The third most asked question I was asked was where was my camera? Two of the KABC staff asked me where my big camera was. I explained it was loaner and I currently don’t have a camera. Won’t have one for awhile. But I am saving up for one and will hopefully get one by the end of the season if not the start of next season.

Overall, again, a terrific experience at the signing. Thanks to KABC and St. Vincent de Paul for hosting Tony Gwynn, Jr.! Thanks Tony for coming out and being so awesome!!!

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Santa Monica Beach Clean Up 2/15/11

Today was Day 2 of the Dodger Community Caravan. Yesterday, we spent our time cleaning along the L.A. River. Today, we cleaned up a part of the Santa Monica Beach. We started on the north side of the pier and moved north. It was a little drizzly when we arrived, but stopped by the time the players arrived. We were assigned groups, there were five total.

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The players arrived and Charley Steiner was the emcee today. Joining Charley were Rafael Furcal, Matt Kemp, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jay Gibbons, Gabe Kapler, Derrell Thomas, Shawn Green, Fernando Valenzuela, Sweet Lou Johnson, and Steve Garvey.
Here’s Matt Kemp fooling with Sweet Lou.
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Matt, Raffy, and Fernando having a good laugh.
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And of course, what’s a Dodger event without Deuce and his “chauffeur” aka dad. Even Tony Gwynn, Jr. recognized Deuce from the Stadium.
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After the groups were announced, we all headed out to pick up trash. Gabe Kapler and Sweet Lou Johnson were in my group. Like yesterday, it started out as five individual groups and later became one giant Dodger amoeba. Gabe agreed that he would say it that way too.
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Gabe working hard! The beach was unusually clean today. It was hard to find actual trash. I joked that we were putting just as much sand as trash in our bag. We did manage to find a dime and five cigarette butts, the latter being a very common thing to find. We also found bits and pieces of Styrofoam, to which Gabe commented on how he could easily see how fish could mistake that for food.
After a bit, fans started coming up to Gabe asking him for his autograph and/or a picture. Myself included.
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My friend Cat has a Gabe Kapler story. On Aug 16, 2008, Gabe Kapler made an amazing catch over the short left field wall at Dodger Stadium. Cat and her son were sitting right where Gabe made the catch. I mentioned the story to Gabe and he was like, really? No way! He asked me if I remembered who hit the ball. I wasn’t at the game that night. He remembered. It was Russell Martin. They still have the video up on MLB.com. If not, season ticket holder Dodger Films does.
It was almost time to head back, so whatever players were around I managed to get a photo with or signed my scrapbook. For instance, Tony Gwynn, Jr.
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I already had a photo with Jay. Though I wouldn’t have minded another one. Oh well. I didn’t ask for a photo. Funny story. My friend Iriz and I rushed to catch up to Shawn Green, but only one of us was allowed to get our photo take with him. So I took a picture of Iriz an Shawn. Jay wasn’t too far away so I walked over to him. Quite out of breath, I asked him if he could sign my scrapbook. Poor guy. I could barely get the words out. I think he said, “Hey, I know you” and got a surprised look from me in return. Again, I’m not sure if that’s what he said but that’s what it sounded look.
I did get my chance to get a picture with Shawn Green back on the boardwalk. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there. So I asked if I could get a picture. 
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Four years before I ever went to my first baseball game, I considered becoming a Dodger fan based on the story of Shawn Green not playing a game to support his Jewish heritage. I never got to go to a game and he wasn’t a Dodger anymore so it was four more years before I finally went to my first game.
There was just one more person I needed to sign my scrapbook and it was Matt Kemp. Unfortunately, what happened when I tried to ask him became quite an embarrassing moment for me. He saw me and said, “You have a thousand of autographs of mine. I know your face.” It took me by surprise and shocked me. I stammered out that I only had three or four, one for each scrapbook. I was quite embarrassed. Got a good laugh out of it, but still embarrassed. Roberto over at Vin Scully is My Homeboy was there and got it all on video
I understand why he said no and will respect his wishes and won’t ask him for any more autographs. But I would like to correct the misconception that I have “thousands” of Matt Kemp autographs because I have only been collecting autographs since 2007. Specifically, I only have 4 things signed by Matt Kemp, and that’s just as many things that I have signed by AJ Ellis, Jamey Carroll, Jon Garland, John Ely, Carlos Monasterios, and that’s just off the top of my head. And he is definitely the player who I have the most autographs from. Oh well.
They weighed all the bags in each of the groups and the winning group got their picture taken with their player. Our group won!!! By then Gabe had already headed towards the bus and had to be tracked down. We got our group photo taken but was still missing Sweet Lou. Sweet Lou joined us and made his way towards the front with Gabe. He gave Gabe a huge hug saying the next time they hug it will be in October. After another group photo, they too
k a huge group photo of everyone who showed up to participate. Guess who made his way to the front to stand by Gabe and ended up right in front of me. Yup, Matt Kemp.
Like the river event, I enjoyed this one (despite the embarrassing moment but oh well, what can I do besides laugh about it?).